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Traffic Engineering

Traffic Engineering has a host of responsibilities. Its main purpose is to provide and maintain safe and efficient movement for vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic throughout the City. Contact Public Works with any questions.

Traffic Safety/Accident Study

All reported accidents in the city are logged and are then used for planning of project and traffic studies.These studies include, but are not limited to: all-way stop and traffic signal warrant analysis, review of sight distance and installation of traffic control devices.

Traffic Warrant Study

Warrant Study for TRAFFIC SIGNAL

The primary function of the traffic signal is to assign right-of-way at an intersection.Through the assignment of time, each movement enters the intersection without conflict.When a signal is properly timed, it can increase intersection capacity and is a valuable device for enhancing the safety and efficiency of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic and may reduce certain types of accidents, most notably, right-angle (broadside) collisions.

To determine if a traffic signal is warranted, evaluation is performed utilizing nationally accepted warrants for traffic signal from both the State of California and Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Device (MUTCD). The warrants analyze the following factors:

  1. Minimum Vehicular Volumes Warrant
  2. Interruption of Continuous Traffic Warrant
  3. Minimum Pedestrian Volume Warrant
  4. School Crossing Warrant
  5. Progression movement Warrant
  6. Accident Experience Warrant
  7. System Warrant
  8. Peak Hour Delay Warrant
  9. Peak Hour Volume Warrant

Special Signal Functions

  1. Flashing Red

According to the California Vehicle Codes, when the red indication on the signal head is flashing, a driver shall stop before entering the intersection.The driver may proceed; subject to the rules applicable to making a stop at a four-way stop controlled intersection.

  1. Flashing Yellow

When the yellow indication on the signal head is flashing, a driver may proceed into the intersection with caution.

  1. Dark Signal

When the signal indications have gone dark due to power failure or other factors then the intersection is to function the same way as an all-way stop intersection.A driver must stop before entering the intersection.

  1. Pedestrian Signals
    1. “Walk” or the walking person indication means that pedestrians facing the signal may start to walk across the street after checking to see that cross traffic has stopped.
    2. “Flashing Don’t Walk” means that the pedestrian should not start to cross the street.For pedestrians who already began crossing (in the crosswalk) there will be sufficient time for these pedestrians to complete crossing the street before opposing traffic enters the intersection.
    3. “Don’t Walk” steady mode, means that a pedestrian should not enter the roadway/crosswalk because the signal is change and there won’t be enough time for the pedestrian to clear the intersection.

Warrant Study for Stop Signs

Stop signs request are one of the more popular request we get each year.Usually, the stop sign request is to reduce accidents and speeding.Studies have shown that other measures are often more effective than adding more stop signs.For instance, our experience has shown that simply improving the intersection visibility is often more effective in reducing traffic accidents.Improving sight visibility at intersection often reduces the need to install more restrictive intersection control.

Warrants for Stop Signs Installation

The Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices dictates the size, shape and color of all traffic signs.This manual has guidelines for signs installation and therefore set uniformity between states and cities.The State of California has similar guidelines as the Federal and these are followed by the City of Hawthorne.

Traffic Impact Review

The review process works closely with developers and residents to ensure that General Plan Circulation Element and zoning codes are met by the new development.If the development generates any significant impacts it must mitigate its impact on the City’s street network system.The process also reviews the development’s on-site circulation, pedestrian amenities, driveway locations/access points and parking evaluation.

Traffic Impact Studies included:

  1. Century Business Center (located on Jack Northrop between Crenshaw Blvd. and Prairie Ave.).
  2. Central Park Specific Plan (Lee’s Homes located at the southwest corner of 120th Street and Van Ness Ave.).  The development consists of a Target Store and residential development.
  3. 360 William Lyon Homes (located at the southeast corner of Aviation Blvd. and El Segundo Blvd.-residential development).
  4. Primavera Courts Specific Plan (located on Hawthorne Blvd. between 138th and 141st Street – mix-used development of commercial and residential).
  5. Ocean Park Village Specific Plan (Hawthorne mall – mix use of commercial and residential development.


Interesting Links:

City of Hawthorne Municipal Codes




LA County




California Department of Motor Vehicles


California Vehicle Codes (CVC)


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